7.85-inch iPad rumors go mainstream again

Solving for 7: How Apple could implement the iPad mini interface

Back on March 10, iMore heard that the 7.x-inch iPad was on track for release this fall, starting at $199. Since then, mainstream newspapers have begun reporting likewise, including Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, and now Nick Bilton and Nick Wingfield at the New York Times.

The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.

The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.

The reason why Apple would release a 7-inch iPad is to occupy the smaller size and lower price point favored by some users and by mass-market buyers like schools and businesses.

How Apple will handle a 7.x-inch iPad interface is likely by shrinking down the current 9.7-inch iPad iOS interface to fit the smaller size.

While there haven't been any major parts leaks or advanced case manufacturing runs, the likes of which are typically seen in the months leading up to new iPhones and iPads, the amount of rumors surfacing at this point makes an iPad mini release seem likely.

Rumors of the iPhone and iPad both spread before their those devices were announced, likely as they moved closer to manufacturing, FCC certification, and carrier testing, and more people became familiar with them outside of Apple's tightly guarded labs.

That, or simple Apple starting to seed the market in anticipation of release, could explain what we're seeing now.

Apple has never released two major iOS devices in the same season before. With the iPhone 5 already anticipated for October, a close or even simultaneous launch of the iPad mini could make for an incredibly interesting holiday quarter for Apple... and a depressing one for 7-inch tablet competitors.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

eric6052 says:

I'm guessing we get a $249 price point on the new small iPad. That would still bury the competition even if it's $50 more and still allows Apple to make their profit margin. The potential for schools, and people buying iPad Minis for their children alone could cause the market to explode.

paleh0rse says:

Yayyyyy, a 7.85" iTouch! Awesome!

Oh, wait... no it's not.

demontooth says:

I just don't see $199. Not a high enough profit margin.

paleh0rse says:

"How Apple will handle a 7.x-inch iPad interface is likely by shrinking down the current 9.7-inch iPad iOS interface to fit the smaller size."

Wow... ya think?! O_o

Selsandy says:

Come to think of it even MORE than I already have, if these rumors are true, I'd be buying three...one for each of my kids, 15, 10 & 7. Reason, #1, I can't seem to ever get to use my iPad ever because all three of them are always on it doing something or the other, mainly education applications and the occasional game.
Just today I said I'd have to get another one because, as far as I can see they (kids) already own mine. If the price is right, I too can see schools and a lot of other institutions buying these tablets in bulk, not to mention the portability, they'd be a lot easier for the little ones to carry around, even for some of us adults.
I too like the 7inch form factor mainly for that reason.....changing the subject a little bit here, sometimes "size" matters, I would already own an iPhone but, the 3 inch screen don't cut it for me, don't laugh but, I presently am using a BlackBerry Bold 9780 and a Samsung Galaxy S 2?
The Bold 9780 is (soon to be was) mainly used for BBM seeing where I live (Barbados) is the most prevalent but, I see a change coming for Android and IPhone.
The SGS 2 is presently my Primary phone, for sheer speed and screen real estate, the 4 inch form factor in my opinion is the sweet spot for mobile phones, anything larger may be a bit too much... That's just me though.
Another thing....it really would be great if the new iPhone or iPhone 5 has at least a 1. something processor, seeing more of the apps that are coming out requires more processing power not to mention the hi-res or retina displays......ohhh I almost forgot ....the same or improved battery life.
Case in point, I was at work all day and had travel late one evening...flight got delayed and swappable battery saved my skin (SGS 2) .... Not all airports have places to charge devices or if they do, all of these outlets were already taken by people in my delayed situation..

paleh0rse says:

I believe our kids and "other institutions" would be much better served if they go with Windows8 tablets so that students can actually learn to be productive using real-world software, rather than just checking Facebook and playing Angry Birds all day.

Selsandy says:

Not meaning to be negative to what you're saying but there HAS to be a reason why the military, fourtune 500 companies etc....and schools are switching and using iPads. I don't see the big switch to Windows or Blackberry. I'm not here knocking any platform .... To each his own, but the numbers speak for themselves.
I too have 4 pc's at my house, two laptops and two desktops...so, I KNOW what productivity is about and the stress to keep them updatd and virus free.
My NEXT purchase is gonna be a MAC! ;-)

Jeovex says:

THE reason is because it was the first mainstream tablet and has the biggest market share...seriously...its the only reason, a similarly cost microsoft-manufactured windows tablet would be more efficient. you would have a full desktop experience which truly is mobile, the future is still not certain but i can see america's obsession with apple ending when there are better options.

Dark_Blu says:

That depends on the price of those "better solutions". If Microsoft puts that Windows RT Tablet at a price higher than the 7" iPad, people will buy the 7" iPad. I work at a medical school where no one has an Android Tablet and many have iPads. Android Tablets priced at or too close to the iPad, have failed, historically, and yet, the idiots manufacturing them didn't get that. Amazon realized that and hence, the Kindle Fire. Google finally realized it, hence, their offering of the Nexus 7. I know more people (myself included) who sprung for the iPad 2 after the price drop to $399 than the Retina iPad. Consumers are price conscious. If Apple does sell a 7" iPad mini at $199 or $249, it will fly off shelves faster than the Retina iPad and more people will wait in line for the 7" iPad than any of the others that came before it. There's no way a majority of consumers will to pay more for a Windows RT Tablet to be "productive" if the 7" iPad costs less. Apple will win this one on price if the price is lower.

cardfan says:

I don't think we've seen a 7 or 7.85" tablet in a 4:3 aspect ratio which will basically be a bit smaller ipad. This won't look like a Nexus 7.

newdeal says:

This is likely the reason that apple began trialing the newer process in the A5 processor with the iPad 2 once the iPad 3 came out. It wasn't to give the ipad2 a boost in battery life (as evidenced by the fact that they haven't changed their advertising) but to see how they worked in the real world so they can get the 7.85" version up to 10 hours like its bigger brothers, while keeping it thin and light (since apple must know that is critical). We will see the iPad mini released with an A5, the iPad 2 resolution, which will scale the interface to the size of the iPhone user elements and is likely the reason why apple forces the home screen to be so spread out on the big iPad...even though the interface will be smaller the home screen will keep the same size elements as the iPad just put the icons closer together